Nearly four years ago, I wrote a piece in defense of a Baptist minister who was shunned by a theologian from the Dutch Reformed Church (in South Africa) for publicly opposing sodomy as sin. In my conclusion to that piece I noted, “The Dutch Reformed Church is an apostate whore. All true followers of Christ should necessarily leave her. I have been ashamed to say I was baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church for many years now.” Again, that was a call I made four years ago. Now that call needs to be repeated and, if possible, with increased intensity.
On Friday, 9 October, the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa followed in the footsteps of many other mainline Protestant denominations in the West, officially embracing sodomy and re-defining the concept of “marriage” in deviation from biblical norms. In 2012, Nathanael Strickland had also predicted that it would be a matter of time before it is accepted in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and earlier this year he turned out to be right. I must admit that I was a little surprised that the church in South Africa modified their position in the very same year as the PCUSA, since traditionally ecclesiastical degeneracy in South Africa has been five to ten years “behind” the U.S.
The official position of the DRC, as eventually accepted by 114 votes to 63, reads:
(2) The General synod accepts that hetero- and homosexual persons living in a personal relationship of obedience to God, can fully participate in the privileges of the church as covenant community.
(3) The General synod re-affirms … that marriage can only be considered the union of one man and one woman … [but] (4) in light of (2) we acknowledge civil unions between people of the same sex that is marked by love and fidelity – and provide the opportunity for ministers who do not consciously object, to confirm these unions in the church.
(5) The same Christian-ethical standards (for life and practice) are to be maintained for the ordination of all ministers, regardless of sexual orientation. Point 7 of the decision of 2007 [which determined that gay ministers should remain celibate] is overruled.1
Note that the distinction made between a “marriage” and a “civil union” is, particularly in the South African context, confusing at best. The bill (incidentally supported by the this very same church at the time2) which passed full sodomite “marriage” with equal marital rights in South Africa in 2006 was actually known as the “Civil Unions Act.” The church has now moved from their former Radical Two-Kingdom position, as expressed in 2006, to a fully apostate position in 2015. The church’s position places it in the category of heterodox at best and the word “Reformed” in its name has become meaningless.
It is valuable, in order to get to the heart of the problem, to look at some of the arguments made in favour of this decision during the synodal deliberation preceding it. A perusal of the live blog on the discussions reveals that though a majority of elders argued in favour of the biblical doctrine, an overwhelming majority of clergy and seminary professors promoted the Marxist position. Some true gems were produced in contending for the Marxist side: Rev. Monte Sahd, for example, made the following argument: “I ask that the church [finally] makes a non-discriminatory decision: that heterosexual and homosexual relationships be considered equally.” A delegate from the floor said that the church “can’t consider our own apology or racism as sincere if we reject the blessing of same-sex marriage.” Rev. Andre Bartlett, one of the main proponents of the Marxist position, noted that in his twenty-eight years as a minister he has worked with couples of various sexual orientations and that, in every case, “it is the same love. I had to ask myself the question, where does love come from? The Bible tells me love comes from God.” Later he would also argue for the same case by noting, “Biblical justice demands that all people be treated with dignity and equally. . . . [H]eterosexual and homosexual couples that live in a faithful and obedient relationship to God should enjoy the same ecclesiastical rights and privileges.” A professor in Old Testament from the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, Alphonso Groenewald, argued, “The Bible teaches us to accept people as they are. To accept the full humanity of all people.” The head of that same department of Old Testament Studies, professor Dirk Human, supported his colleague: “The Bible helps us understand: All people should be treated equally, have equal rights and equal standing in the church.” Dr. Ben du Toit pleaded that if the church “impairs the dignity [of homosexuals] by not giving them equal rights, it is . . . a form of violence.” At one stage during the discussion a delegate literally said: “I think it is unfair that we have to make a freaking [sic] decision [for gay people] today. We must never forget who we are – a bunch of freaking [sic] sinners. Romans 1 is not about gay people, it is about us.” 3
All things considered, the award for the worst performance of the entire synod would have to go to the aforementioned Rev. Monty Sahd. I quote a reporter’s live blog from the synod’s proceedings on the Thursday:
“I apologize that I refer people in terms of their sexual orientation. They are much more than that,” said Rev. Monty Sahd after he referred to “homosexual persons.”
He says that [at the] 2013 [synod] more than a yes or a no was introduced into the discussion. “Yet another word was added, apart from yes / no – Maybe!, maybe, but we should do a further study.” “I hope, pray, that today the ‘maybe’ can be turned into a ‘yes’.” He says there is a woman in the gallery for whom he has to apologize. She could not be legitimized as minister in 2007. Because she is gay. Monty Sahd started crying. “I want to look her in the eyes, and apologize for the pain.”4
These statements and performances represent the theology of the Dutch Reformed Church today. It is solidly Marxist, egalitarian, and sentimentalist, but it is in absolutely no way Christian. Without refuting each of the quotations one by one, I think that the general sentiment of them all is that “biblical” (read “humanist-social”) justice demands the elimination of all divinely ordained and revealed distinctions and borders, both societal and moral. The Law-Word, all the authority of God, is epistemically replaced by the zeitgeist-inspired sentiments and law of man. This is in reality, by definition, Satanism, and it has its theological-historical origin with the ideology of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. This is outright rebellion against the sovereignty of God. Between the white guilt and the borderless acceptance of sexual deviancy promoted at this synod, these men and women can and should be considered disciples of Voltaire and Marx, perhaps also of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, but certainly not of Christ.
Sadly for my people, still about 30% of Afrikaners are members of this denomination (an estimated 70% of which could be considered active). For a people born out of the Reformation, who have historically claimed to exercise a divine calling to hold dominion and spread the gospel in Africa, this is a historically significant defeat. Any and all claims to a legitimate covenantal response by our people are void. The institutional church is, for the most part, dead. When this is the case also in Afrikanerdom, which has always been the covenantal carrier of the faith in South Africa, and when one considers also that only 4% of children born in South Africa today are white (including both Afrikaners and Anglo-South Africans) and that the South African government seems hellbent on using sodomy to persecute Christians, the immediate future of Christianity in this part of the world looks very bleak indeed. It would seem that the only possible way forward from here is, with complete trust in the divine promise that the gates of hell will never prevail against the conquering Church of Christ (Matt. 16:18), to have many children and raise them in true covenantal obedience, to build congregations who explicitly embrace and teach biblical truths and the laws of God, no matter how politically incorrect, and to create and strengthen communities of like-minded kinsmen.
- http://www.netwerk24.com/nuus/2015-10-09-gay-mense-as-gelykes-in-ng-kerk-verwelkom?vc=ZtK0ufaCRQXga9hR1MphktqDJtWeCOfVDQLbW4YtKfIslnHdEUNDCYItLqE6mwzGt8KCE4z10SB4ie2hn5ZNAg%3D%3D – Note: article is in Afrikaans ↩
- http://www.kletskerk.co.za/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1429&view=print – Note: article is in Afrikaans ↩
- http://www.netwerk24.com/nuus/2015-10-06-regstreeks-sinode-van-ng-kerk-pak-mekaar-oor-gays – Note: Article is in Afrikaans ↩
- http://www.netwerk24.com/nuus/2015-10-08-regstreeks-ng-kerk-debatteer-oor-gay-verhoudings – Note: Article is in Afrikaans ↩